There are mixed opinions regarding the question, “are bananas good or bad for weight loss?”
One reason for the mixed opinions about bananas’ ability to promote weight loss is that there aren’t a lot of studies on the subject matter.
That has left room for people to come up with their own opinions on whether or not bananas are good for weight loss, and sometimes these opinions contrast.
Another cause of dispute about bananas’ ability to be good for weight loss is their sugar content. There is a belief that because of bananas’ sugar content, bananas can’t be good for weight loss.
Breaking Through the Confusion
Now it is true that bananas have sugar content, but so does every other fruit, and it seems that nature knows what amount of sugar to put into its foods because natural foods such as fruits have sugar, for the most part, in moderate amounts.
When health experts speak about how sugary foods are unhealthy and can cause obesity, they are not referring to natural foods, which for the most part, are weight loss friendly and healthy.
They are referring to manufactured foods with a lot of added sugar to enhance taste.
As far as bananas go, with their sugar content and all of their other contents combined, the average medium-size banana has about 105 calories, which is a rather conservative number of calories when you think about how filling and what a great source of energy a banana can be.
Therefore, it can be said that bananas have the potential to help with weight loss because they can fill you up and provide you energy at a relatively little calorie intake.
Now just because bananas have the potential to help with weight loss does not mean that eating bananas will guarantee weight loss because weight loss is based on your overall diet being one where you’re taking in fewer calories than you’re burning.
So only if bananas are helping you to moderate your caloric intake so that your overall diet is one where you’re taking in fewer calories than you’re burning can it be said that bananas are helping you lose weight.
What Allows Bananas Filling But Yet Low In Calories?
Above, it was stated that bananas have the potential to help with weight loss because bananas are filling and, at the same time, are low in calories.
There are three traits of bananas that allow them to be filling and yet low in calories:
1. High Water Content
Water can be very filling to consume, and as you probably already know, water has no calories. Bananas are made up of 74 percent water.
2. Fiber Content
Fiber can also be very filling to consume, and fiber has virtually no calories. The average medium-sized banana contains about 3 grams of fiber.
3. Content That Has Calories Are Found In Either Moderate or Minuscule Amounts
Not all the contents of bananas have no or virtually no calories, like bananas’ water and fiber content. Bananas also contain starch which can have up to 2 to 4 calories per gram, protein which has 4 calories per gram, sugar which has 4 calories per gram, and fat which has 9 calories per gram. However, each of these four contents is found in either minuscule or moderate amounts in bananas. Therefore overall, bananas are a low-calorie food.
Provides Energy at Relatively Little Calorie Expense
Bananas aren’t just great for weight loss because they can fill you up at little calorie expense. They can also be great for weight loss because even though they are low in calories, they can provide longer-lasting energy.
This ability that bananas have to provide energy at minimal calorie expense is very important because when you’re on a weight loss diet, you don’t want to lose weight at the cost of being tired all the time. You still want to have plenty of energy.
How Are Bananas Able to Provide Longer-Lasting Energy and Yet Be Low in Calories?
Calories are simply units of energy.
When the body takes in or consumes too many calories, the excess energy will be stored as fat that the body will burn in the future when it needs energy.
Body fat, simply put, is stored energy due to excess calorie or energy consumption.
As mentioned earlier, the average medium-size banana (7-7/8inches) has about 105 calories.
105 calories are enough energy to energize the body, but not enough to where there should be energy left over that could be converted into fat.
The great thing about much of the energy that bananas provide is that it’s longer-lasting energy, and this has to do with bananas’ sugar and fiber content.
A lot of the energy/calories that bananas provide comes from their sugar content.
Of the 105 calories of energy that a banana offers, about 53 percent comes from its sugar content.
Sugar is a simple carb meaning it’s easy for the body to break it down.
Fiber is a complex carb that is hard for the body to break down, which is why fiber travels through the body largely intact. This is also why fiber has virtually no calories because it is hard for the body to break down fiber and extract energy from it.
Not only is fiber hard for the body to break down, but when sugar and fiber are eaten together, the fiber will slow down your body’s ability to break down and extract energy from the sugar content.
That is the secret to why bananas can provide long-lasting energy. Again, the banana’s fiber content slows down the breaking down of the banana’s sugar content, so the energy that comes from the sugar content lasts longer.
Bananas also have resistant starch, which is similar to fiber in that it’s a complex carb. The greener the banana, the more resistant starch it has, but as bananas start to ripen, their resistant starch content becomes less and less.
Bananas have 105 calories which are not enough to be fattening. But enough energy to give the body an energy buzz.
Much of the energy that bananas provide last longer due to the fact that much of the energy that bananas provide comes from their sugar content, and bananas’ fiber content slows down the body’s ability to break down the sugar content, so the energy from sugar last longer.
That is how bananas can be lower calorie & weight loss friendly but at the same time provide long-lasting energy, making them a great source of energy for people on weight loss diets.
Not a Sure Thing
Even though bananas are weight loss friendly, it is not certain that if you eat bananas, you will experience weight loss.
Weight loss all comes down to a person consistently consuming fewer calories than they’re burning. Being that bananas are filling and low in calories, they have the potential to aid in keeping your hunger at bay and keeping your calorie intake down so that your diet is one where you’re taking in fewer calories than you’re burning.
However, there is no such thing as a food that will guarantee weight loss, bananas included.
How effective bananas are at aiding in weight loss depends on how strategically you’re using bananas for weight loss and how they impact the overall calorie intake of your diet.
If you’re using bananas as a low-calorie filling food to help fill yourself up at little calorie expense and bananas are, in fact, helping to moderate your calorie intake so that your diet is one where you’re taking in fewer calories than you’re burning, than it can be said that bananas are having a positive effect in helping you achieve weight loss.
However, if you have a diet where you’re consuming more calories than you’re burning, and instead of using bananas to help moderate your caloric intake, you’re just eating bananas on top of everything else you’ve been eating, bananas will not help with weight loss.
Also, for bananas to be effective at aiding in weight loss, it’s important not to overindulge in bananas because even though a medium banana is only about 105 calories, the sheer number of bananas can add up if you eat a lot of bananas.
Weight Loss Friendly & Nutritious
Bananas are not just weight loss-friendly; they are also a great source of some vital nutrients. Bananas being nutritious is important because, on a weight loss diet, you want to be losing weight while at the same time getting proper nutrition. Below is a list of nutrients and their quantities found in one medium size banana.
One Medium Size (7-7/8inches) Banana Contains:
•20 percent of the daily recommended intake Vitamin B6 – Vitamin B6 is beneficial to the nervous system.
•17 percent of the daily recommended intake Vitamin C – The benefits associated with vitamin c include great for skin (helps boost and maintain collagen in the skin), strong antioxidant (helps fight against diseases such as heart disease and cancer).
•12 percent of the daily recommended intake Potassium (422mg) –Getting proper amounts of potassium is beneficial to heart health.
•12 percent of the daily recommended intake Fiber (3.1g) – The benefits associated with vitamin fiber include: great for heart health (fiber intake has been shown to improve heart health), great for weight loss (can help with weight loss)
•8 percent of the daily recommended intake Magnesium – Magnesium is great for the bones.
Although there are not a lot of studies that measure bananas’ (as a whole) ability to create weight loss, there are studies that show a link between various contents found in bananas and weight loss.
• Water: Water, which bananas have a high concentration of also have been shown to contribute to weight loss. Now keep in mind many of these studies are based on participants drinking water and not getting the water from food sources like bananas, but these studies do show a connection between water consumption and weight loss (4)(5)(6).
Great Food For Exercise
Another way bananas can aid in weight loss is by being a great food for exercise as exercising can aid in weight loss.
The fact that bananas can be filling and provide long-lasting energy at little calorie expense is one of the main reasons bananas are a great exercise food.
Therefore, if you are working out to lose weight and or other health reasons, bananas can be a great food to eat.
To learn more about how bananas can help with exercise, click here:
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